East Ham barber ordered to cut the music

The proprietor of an East Ham barber shop faced the legal music at London’s High Court and as a result his customers will have to rely on the stimulating conversation for entertainment, after recorded music was banned there, by order of the court.

Mr Justice Vos, one of the country’s top judges, imposed the sound of silence on Patrick Phipps, proprietor of A Cut Above The Rest at 339 Barking Road, after hearing he had been caught playing recorded copyrighted music there when he didn’t have a Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) licence.

And in addition to the ban he also ordered Phipps, who was not in court and not represented, to pay �1,707 in legal costs in the next 14 days.

The ban, imposed this morning, also extends to any other premises he runs until he brings his licence up to date. And if he does not comply he could end up behind bars.

The judge was told that Phipps was caught after a PPL inspector visited the premises and heard music being played when no licence was in force. The inspector heard tracks including ‘Lu Lu Lu’ by Busy Signal on July 25 last year.

PPL’s counsel Fiona Clark said that solicitors had sent letters to the premises informing him of the nature and extent of PPL’s repertoire and the fact that the playing in public of sound recordings without PPL’s licence or permission constitutes infringement of its copyright, and inviting him to acquire a licence. However, she said he had not done so.

The ban applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire. Depending on the size of a venue and the audiences involved music licences can cost very little but they can also run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

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PPL spokesperson Clare Goldie said: ‘Public Performance licences are issued by PPL to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations from all sectors across the UK who play recorded music to their staff or customers and who therefore require a licence by law.

‘With over 6,500 members who are record companies or other recorded music rights holders and 50,000 performer members, PPL has a large and diverse membership. Members include major record labels and globally successful performers, as well as many independent labels, sole traders and session musicians ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers – all of whom are entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.’